Hostels | Survival and Packing Tips

Hostels are a great budget friendly way to travel. There are so many different types of hostels to choose from nowadays, from your traditional dorm style to luxury hostels. After staying at a few hostels during our travels, I’ve learned a few things along the way that might be helpful for first time hostel travelers.

Survival Tips

Tip #1: Pack Your Night Essentials Before You Leave for the Day

Before you leave for the day to explore the city, you will want to prepare your sleeping clothes and any toiletries you will need for the evening upon your return. You want to be courteous to your other mates in the room and no one wants to be woken up because you are trying to look for your sleeping attire at the bottom of your backpack. Waking up the sound of zippers and luggage rustling around is never ideal.

I recommend packing a small tote that you can throw everything in and leave on your bed before you leave for the day. This way, when you return for the evening all you have to do is grab the tote and head to the restrooms to change and get ready for bed.

Tip #2: Don’t Turn on the Main Light

Everyone has different schedules and if you are returning from a late night, never turn on the main light to the room. Use your cell phone instead. It’s all about being courteous to your mates. Most cell phones have the flashlight feature, if not download an app.

Tip #3: Set Your Phone to Vibrate or Silent

I get it that alarms are sometimes a must, especially if you have a flight to catch or something special planned for the day. Just don’t be that person that hits snooze 7 million times with the loudest alarm tone that no one wants to hear. If you must set an alarm, get up when the alarm rings and DON’T forget to turn it off if you walk away to take a shower or leave the room.

You don’t want to be that person that everyone hates in the hostel. You know who I’m talking about. The person that hits snooze, goes and takes a 30 minute shower, all the while their alarm is going bananas and the 5 other people in the room are now all awake at 5am.

Must Haves When Packing

Flip Flops

Flips flops are my #1 must have when staying at a hostel. I recommend packing a pair that you can wear in the shower and around the hostel. Unless you want to get athletes foot, don’t forget to pack these. If you haven’t figured it out already, you will be sharing shower areas in some hostels. No one wants to step in bare feet, well at least I don’t.

Microfiber Towel

Some hostels will provide you with a towel but I would rather have my own just in case. Microfiber towels are super versatile as they can also be used as beach towels. It’s lightweight and easy to pack. We used our Microfiber towel more than I anticipated during our travels.

Mini Blow-dryer

I didn’t think this was something I needed until we stayed at one hostel that listed they had blow-dryers, however, none of them worked. I hate walking around with wet hair and it really made me look into travel blow-dryers when we got back to the States. This is the one I purchased as it had dual voltage and can fit into the palm of my hands. Small, powerful and lightweight.


You will want to bring a lock in case your hostel doesn’t provide one for storage locker. I recommend bringing at least two of varying sizes. Never leave your valuables laying around in a hostel. Lock everything up before you leave for the day to explore, especially your electronics. If you do leave something out, it will typically be your tote bag with your evening clothes in them. I never pack clothing items that I can’t part with in case they get misplaced our lost.


If you are staying in a dorm style or cube hostel, earplugs can come in handy. There will be travelers on all different schedules coming in and out of the room and if are a light sleeper earplugs are a must.


If you are listening to music or watching your favorite show on your phone / laptop, headphones are a must. You want to be respectful of your other roommates.

Battery Charger

Charging ports can be a hot commodity at hostels. Just in case all the ports are taken you’ll have a back-up battery with you to get you by.


You should never assume that hostels will have universal plugs so don’t forget a universal converter when you travel. This is the one we use and it worked great.

Hanging Toiletry Bag

Counter space is a premium and most hostels won’t even have counter space in the restrooms. Plus, you are not going to want to place your toothbrush or makeup on the counters anyway. I recommend finding a toiletry bag that can be hung on the side of sink or counter.

Hostels are not only budget friendly, they can be a great way to meet fellow travelers.  The social aspect is also why people choose to stay at hostels. Remember, there are hostels available for all different types of travelers. Booking your next adventure, check out Hostel World for your accommodations.


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